Tuesday, 29 May 2012
Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Tuesday, 22 May 2012
Tuesday, 15 May 2012
Pig Iron by Benjamin Myers
By Cathi Unsworth
Pig Iron is a novel of consequences. It's the story of John-John Wisdom, just released from a young offenders institute, and living in a run-down flat on the outskirts of Durham. He's got a job selling ice-creams, and a dream of following his Traveller's blood out of this place. It's also the story of his father, Mac, legendary bare-knuckle boxer, and the life he led on the clandestine circuit; related in tandem by John-John's mother, the daughter of sea-coalers, from "when the coal washed up on the beach … Back before it all changed".
John-John's job takes him into an impoverished estate "where the air is tight. High tensile. Mega-para". Here he meets Maria, insolent, gum-snapping beauty. Fascinated by their mutual otherness, they tentatively fall in love – and Maria's transgression from the brutal codes of her insular world costs them both dear. At the same time, Mac's transgressions and their shattering consequences are revealed.
Myers's poetic vernacular brims with that quality most sadly lost in the Thatcher years – humanity.
(Review linked here)
Monday, 14 May 2012
"Anthony Burgess's diabolical tale of juvenile ultraviolence is 50. Five decades on, the novel holds a lofty position as one of pop culture's most influential and enduring pieces of literature..."
Here's a piece I wrote for The Guardian today...